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After HD DVD Drop, Toshiba Spends $835M to Back PS3

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356w ago - Sony gives Toshiba something in return for its troubles -- Japanese Cell chip plants for $835M

A new twist has emerged with the death of HD DVD. After Warner, Best Buy, Walmart and Netflix jumped on the Blu bandwagon, the fate of HD DVD was already sealed.

Despite the grim news, the principle HD DVD developer, Toshiba Corporation, refused to initially comment on its plans for its HD DVD. However, as many analysts predicted, Toshiba came out last week and officially surrendered to Blu-ray.

Many saw Toshiba's willingness to give up on HD DVD as a logical business decision and perhaps an admission of Blu-ray's superiority. However, there might be a little more to the story. Reuters reports that on Wednesday Toshiba and Sony Corporation, one of Blu-ray's principle developers, agreed to a major business deal, reached just after Toshiba made its final HD DVD decision.

Sony agreed to sell it microchip processing facilities in western Japan for approximately $835M USD. These facilities currently produce Cell processors and RSX graphic chips. Toshiba will enter the joint venture with Sony on April 1, 2008.

Toshiba, IBM and Sony were the principle developers of the Cell microprocessor, but Toshiba previously showed little interest in using the chip for any of its own...
 

Super-speed Internet satellite blasts off in Japan

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356w ago - Japan launched a rocket Saturday carrying a satellite that will test new technology that promises to deliver "super high-speed Internet" service to homes and businesses around the world.

The rocket carrying the WINDS satellite -- a joint project of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries -- lifted off its pad at 5:55 p.m. (0855 GMT).

If the technology proves successful, subscribers with small dishes will connect to the Internet at speeds many times faster than what is now available over residential cable or DSL services.

The Associated Press said the satellite would offer speeds of up to 1.2 gigabytes per second.

The service initially would focus on the Asia-Pacific region close to Japan, a JAXA news release said.

"Among other uses, this will make possible great advances in telemedicine, which will bring high-quality medical treatment to remote areas, and in distance education, connecting students and teachers separated by great distances," JAXA said.

The rocket was launched from Japan's Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center.

A rocket carrying a super-fast Internet satellite lifts off from its launch pad on the Japanese island of Tanagashima, pic below.
 

GDC 2008: The Technology of Final Fantasy XIII

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356w ago - Like most Japanese developers, Square Enix has traditionally built the technology for each new game from scratch. While middleware solutions like the Unreal Engine have long been a favored solution for Western developers, the Square approach has been to tackle every new project from the ground up.

But this is changing as development costs skyrocket; the upcoming The Last Remnant will be built on Unreal 3, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King for WiiWare was deliberately conceived to test the feasibility of building a game almost entirely with middleware tools and scripts.

Even more ambitious is Final Fantasy XIII's proprietary White Engine, now called Crystal Tools. As Square Enix's first companywide technology platform, it's a full suite of authoring tools and runtime libraries for PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360.

There's even a bit of support for Wii in place, although the latter is still in development. Not only is Crystal Tools the power behind FFXIII, but also Final Fantasy Versus XIII and the company's as-yet unannounced next-generation MMO RPG as well.

Taku Murata, Square Enix's general manager of research and development, spoke today at GDC about the evolution of this new technology. According to Murata, Crystal Tools' evolution began with 1997's Final...
 

HDScape offers up HD DVD to Blu-ray exchange program!

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356w ago - While early adopters won't see a single red cent from Toshiba now that HD DVD has bit the proverbial dust, HDScape movie owners looking to make the transition to Blu-ray may be happy to hear of its latest program.

In a move that we can only hope other studios mimic, the firm is enabling customers that previously purchased flicks on HD DVD to exchange the paper casewraps they came in for an $11.95 BD version.

Yep, this means you can keep your HD DVD case and disc, but you won't be able to use one casewrap to receive a discount on a different title.

For step-by-step instructions on how to take HDScape up on its offer, check out the link above -- and for folks scouting stellar deals on the now-defunct red format, you can snag quite a few of its HD DVDs for just $6.95.
 

UCR’s Researchers Discover New Way to Store Information Via DNA?

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356w ago - Researchers at UC Riverside have found a way to get into your body and your bloodstream. No, they're not spiritual gurus or B-movie mad scientists.

Nathaniel G. Portney, Yonghui Wu, Stefano Lonardi, and Mihri Ozkan from UCR's departments of Bioengineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Biochemistry, and Electrical Engineering, and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, are just talented when it comes to manipulating DNA.

In their paper, "Length-based Encoding of Binary Data in DNA," which was published by the American Chemical Society last month, the researchers discovered a system to encode digital information within DNA. This method relies on the length of the fragments obtained by the partial restriction digest rather than the actual content of the nucleotide sequence. As a result, the technology eliminates the need to use expensive sequencing machinery.

Why is this discovery important? The human genome consists of the equivalent of approximately 750 megabytes of data - a significant amount of storage space. However, only about three percent of DNA goes into composing the more than 22,000 genes that make us what we are. The remaining 97 percent leaves plenty of room to encode information in a genome, allowing the information to be preserved and replicated in perpetuity....
 
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